By Joey Gerardi
Interview: Boutique Air Resumes Nashville Service
Editor’s note: Parts of this interview have been edited for clarity.
In this exclusive interview with Brian Kondrad, the assistant general manager of Boutique Air, we discuss the carrier’s plan to resume service to Nashville, Tenn. from their current cities of Greenville, Miss. and Muscle Shoals, Ala. Boutique has operated flights to Nashville in the past, but they were discontinued back in April of 2019.
AirlineGeeks writer Joey Gerardi (JG) – You have operated service to Nashville in the past. Why did the carrier stop the route back in 2019?
Brian Kondrad (BK) — We originally halted services to increase passenger numbers. Atlanta is a bigger hub for connections so we based it on that. The communities [Greenville, Miss. and Muscle Shoals, Ala.] requested it as well, so I’d say the community request was he main reason.
(JG) — Will this affect the current city offering in either Greenville or Muscle Shoals?
(BK) — Yes. We no longer be flying from Greenville to Atlanta anymore, it’s just going to be Greenville to Dallas and Nashville. Muscle Shoals will be receiving Nashville service in addition to Atlanta.
(JG) — Will this route to Nashville be apart of your Essential Air Service bid in both Greenville and Muscle Shoals?
(BK) — Yes, it will be.
(JG) — What aircraft will be flown on these new routes?
(BK) – Our Pilatus PC-12 will be the aircraft used on these routes.
(JG) —What led Boutique to the decision to start two new routes and a resume a previously-served city during this dramatic decrease in passengers?
(BK) — The pandemic is a big reason behind this decision. Due to the pandemic, a lot of people were not traveling far or could not travel far due to the restrictions on travel. People are still trying to travel leisurely, and Nashville is a regionally acceptable location for leisure travel. People want to stay closer to home for leisure travel, and Nashville presents that for the people of Muscle Shoals and Greenville.
(JG) — What would the daily flights look like from both Greenville and Muscle Shoals to Nashville?
(BK) — Between Sunday and Friday there will be two round-trips a day from Muscle Shoals to Nashville, and Saturday we will have one round-trip. From Greenville to Nashville we will have one round-trip Sunday through Friday, and on Saturdays Greenville will not receive a Nashville flight, only Dallas.
(JG) — You stated earlier that Nashville will be in addition to the current service from Atlanta in Muscle Shoals. Will the number of daily flights from Muscle Shoals to Atlanta change?
(BK) — Yes. Muscle Shoals at the moment has four round-trips a day to Atlanta. Two of those will be shifted to the new Nashville route, meaning that during the week [Sunday through Friday] Muscle Shoals will offer two departures to both Atlanta and Nashville.
(JG) — Will passengers be able to connect with your current airline partners, American and United, in Nashville?
(BK) – Yes, they absolutely will.
(JG) — What will the fares be on the new routes new Nashville?
(BK) – Fares from Nashville to Muscle Shoals will start at $39. Flights from Nashville to Greenville will begin at $49.
(JG) — Greenville to Atlanta will no longer operate after Aug. 23. What options will you offer to passengers booked on that flight past the last day of service?
(BK) — We will offer a full refund for passengers booked between Greenville and Atlanta after the 23rd of August.
(JG) — When will we be able to view and book these new flights on your website and also the websites of your partner airlines?
(BK) — The new Nashville flights will be available for booking on Aug. 14.
(JG) — I understand a few of your stations are non-sterile and operate without security screenings. Will Nashville be sterile or non-sterile?
(BK) — Nashville will be a sterile station.
(JG) — When are the new routes planned to commence?
(BK) — Service from Muscle Shoals to Nashville will begin on Aug. 23, 2020. We are still waiting on final approval to begin Greenville to Nashville, but if everything goes as planned, it will also begin the same day: Aug. 23.
Kondrad added that all routes and schedules are subject to change.